With COVID-19 hitting the events industry hard, two Oxford businesses have launched Oxford Events Real Chat.
Oxford Events Real Chat was launched in April by Amy Hewick, from Hewick Events and Chris Jones of Boys and Girls Promotions. It is an open forum for those delivering events in the Oxfordshire area. They have been meeting on Zoom every Tuesday since April to share ideas of what the future of events look like in Oxfordshire.
According to the research undertaken by Experience Oxfordshire in its Visitor Economy: Covid-19 Business Impact Study, the reduction in spend from tourism-related activity is already showing significant losses of between £112.5million and £137.5million per month, with monthly losses rising further as we proceed through the year into the peak visitor spend period.
The group will next meet at the Kings Centre, Oxford’s largest multi-purpose conference and event centre. In line with government guidance, the group will meet socially distanced with the rest of the group meeting virtually though Zoom. It will be the first kind of event that Oxford will have since the pandemic, and the event organisers would like to understand the experience that their attendees will have, how to gain attendees confidence by sharing the experience on social media and how to deliver events as safely as possible when restrictions are eased.
Amy Hewick said: “Essentially, we are delivering a hybrid event on a budget. We know companies will be conscious of spend whilst we head towards a recession, and therefore we would like to show that events can be delivered semi virtually and Oxford is open for business. The venues that join the call have shared they are still taking new bookings and we want to increase the confidence to attendees that we can deliver safe, socially distanced events. We have been collaborating together since lockdown and therefore, we are in a stronger position than before,” Chris added.